Introduction

Sheltered by soaring mountains, the Kvarner Gulf has long been loved by visitors attracted by the mild climate and cobalt waters, and those in search of more than just beach appeal. In the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the wealthy built holiday homes here, bestowing places like Rijeka and Opatija with a rich legacy of stately Habsburg-era architecture. From both of these neighbouring towns you can easily connect to hiking trails inside the protected forests of Učka Nature Park and Risnjak National Park.

The islands of Cres, Lošinj, Krk and Rab all have highly atmospheric old port towns and stretches of unspoilt coastline dotted with remote coves for superb swimming. Wildlife puts in an appearance, too: Cres has an important griffon-vulture population, Lošinj has a marine centre devoted to preserving the Adriatic's dolphins and turtles, while bears (though elusive) may be sighted in both Učka and Risnjak.